over·​drive | \ ˈō-vər-ˌdrīv How to pronounce overdrive (audio) \

Definition of overdrive

1 : an automotive transmission gear that transmits to the drive shaft a speed greater than engine speed
2 : a state of heightened activity going into rhetorical overdrive

Examples of overdrive in a Sentence

He put the car into overdrive. His acting career is in overdrive. The reporters went into overdrive to finish their stories on time.
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Recent Examples on the Web Covid-19 has kicked technology adoption into overdrive. Kristine Martin Anderson, STAT, "The pandemic slingshot: propelling from national crisis to a resilient health care system," 23 Feb. 2021 But sometimes those feelings go into overdrive at the wrong time, and anxiety winds up interfering with daily life. Colleen Murphy, Health.com, "13 Things That Can Cause Anxiety—And What You Can Do About Them," 22 Feb. 2021 That kicked into overdrive after California’s largest utility, PG&E, began intentionally cutting off power for millions of people to prevent fires in 2019. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The collapse of its energy grid may make Texas the next solar hot spot," 21 Feb. 2021 Trout’s card sold in August, shortly after the market for modern cards went into overdrive. New York Times, "These Two LeBron James Cards Are Worth $7 Million," 18 Feb. 2021 Scammers apparently went into overdrive last week as the number of new claims in Ohio nearly tripled to more than 140,000, and nearly 45,000 were flagged as potentially fraudulent. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Unemployment scammers who have been hitting Ohio hard went into overdrive last week: The Wake Up podcast," 12 Feb. 2021 The Detroit automaker’s push into electric vehicles has gone into overdrive this year. Michelle Chapman, Anchorage Daily News, "General Motors says it will eliminate gasoline and diesel cars and SUVs by 2035," 28 Jan. 2021 In his view, this dynamic hints at an immune system pushed into overdrive. New York Times, "What If You Never Get Better From Covid-19?," 21 Jan. 2021 But then something happened to shift things into overdrive: serious government action. Clive Thompson, Wired, "Climate Change Needs an Operation Warp Speed," 17 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overdrive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overdrive

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for overdrive

Time Traveler

The first known use of overdrive was in 1926

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Statistics for overdrive

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overdrive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overdrive. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for overdrive



English Language Learners Definition of overdrive

: a gear in an automobile that allows it to be driven at higher speeds
: a state of great activity especially in order to achieve something

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